The Four Corners here in the US of A is the only spot in the country where you can be in four states simultaneously, barring really long limbs or being grossly overweight and resultantly wide.

The four states are Utah; Colorado; Arizona; New Mexico. Every time I share a photo of being at the Four Corners Monument, which has changed locations a few times, some rhetorical freelance historian says, “You weren’t in all four states because the monument is in the wrong place.”

Here is a photo of my nieces and me having fun at the current Four Corners Monument, which I also posted to a New Mexico Facebook group that garnered “No you weren’t. It’s in the wrong place!”

Let’s address the rhetoric.

As a quick history lesson in why the Four Corners exist, dial back to the time where the New Mexico Territory extended all the way to California, effectively being the land area now known as Arizona and New Mexico.

Folks in the south of the territory felt unrepresented because the capitol of this vast area was in Santa Fe, far to the north and east.

These NM Territory southerners, following the example of their Confederate southerners, were threatening to secede from the Union, dividing the NM Territory in half from east to west, naming it the Arizona Territory.

For many reasons, the Union wasn’t fond of this division plan, and acknowledging this was a real issue bound to happen, decided to create the Arizona Territory first . . . by extending the border between Colorado and Utah straight south. This was advantageous to the Union.

The rapid way this happened included rapid surveying of what was essentially wilderness with few established bench marks in the region for reference. Add to this the Supreme Court got involved, and three separate monuments having been constructed since (I think) 1962 to “correct” the “primitive surveying” of the day.

We’re left with an academic exercise of “No you weren’t it’s in the wrong place” debating each time a photo is posted.

Honestly, you can reference all sorts of primary sources, each as legally and geodetically valid in their own terms. I’m sure the monument will be moved again some day.

So to “it’s in the wrong place” champions, I recommend considering the spirit of what the Four Corners Monument represents rather than geographic “accuracy” that can be proved and disproved for each claimed location equally.

Here is a photo of the prior bronze benchmark from 1923 for reference, and to show how far “off” the prior survey was (1923 was not the first survey, by the by . . . New Mexico stopped being a territory in 1911 followed by Arizona the following year).